Monday, September 14, 2009

WANTED: Dish Washing Gloves

The wonderful volunteers of GRT need your help to protect their precious hands while removing graffiti! Anything you can spare will do!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Graffiti is no match for 10 UVM Trekkies!

Over 60 stickers removed!

These Trekkies mean business!!

Superheroes Come to Burlington

  • 10 volunteers
  • 2.5 hours of service
  • 60 tags removed
If you missed the Superheroes in Burlington, You-Missed-Out. This spectacular group beefs up their calf muscles peddling to their destinations, where they stop and serve different communities with their superhero powers.

Contact Nicky for more Superhero information!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Spring Update

Hello to all of you interested in cleaning up Burlington!

The first day of spring came and went, so that means it's time for us to step it up! The Graffiti Removal Steering Committee has made great progress drafting an ordinance that will give police officers better tools to catch vandals. The specific details have been agreed upon, and you can read them in the attachment below. City Attorney Gene Bergman has received this and will be putting our ideas into legal format from now. Hopefully by the summer it can be voted on by City Council.

Just because we've put our ideas on paper, though, doesn't mean that this ordinance's passage is guaranteed! We still have a lot of work to do to ensure that it will pass. We need to gather some data about the state of the city right now and plan a PR campaign and event or two around Green-Up Day. That's where you come in!

Our next meeting for the "Outreach Committee" will be next week on Thursday, March 29th, from 5:30-7:00, at the Center for Community and Neighborhoods at 125 College St., 2nd floor. (Same time, same place, new day of the week this time.) There is a tentative plan for the Saturday after (Saturday, March 31st) to be a data-gathering day when we will go out and count the number of tags there are right now in a specific area of town. We'll use this number to come up with a dollar amount of damage and to keep track of how effective our campaign ends up being. More details about the data-gathering event to come.

If you can't come to the meeting, there are other things you can do to start getting the issue of tagging on people's minds. Write a letter to the editor of the Free Press. Go to your NPA ward meeting and bring up the issue. (If you don't know when and where your local NPA meeting is, check out Talk to your neighbors and friends about the harm that tagging is doing to our niehgborhoods-- hurting our sense of community pride, making us feel unsafe, creating an atmosphere that invites crime, etc.
Other exciting things going on: Church Street Marketplace has asked local businesses to donate gift certificates to give to witnesses of vandalism (we're going to go that route first rather than through Crimestoppers to see how effective it is so that witnesses call Burlington Police Department directly.) Also, the "Community Art Space," the fence on North and North Union Street, will feature panels painted by the Boys and Girls Club and other community youth groups and individuals and is scheduled to be fully installed and anti-graffiti coated on Green-Up Day (May 5th). If you're an artist who could coach some mural panelist kids once a week for 3-4 weeks, contact me!

That's a long enough update for now, but to reiterate, I hope to see you at our next meeting on Thursday, March 29th, at 125 College St., from 5:30-7:00!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Next meeting tomorrow

Hi folks,
Hope you received your newsletter in the mail this weekend. I'm also posting the list of ideas proposed at our last meeting below. And remember, we'll be meeting TOMORROW (Tuesday, February 13th) from 5:45-7 at the Center for Community and Neighborhoods to do more planning-- I'd love to have you there! Our new address is: 125 College St., 2nd floor (next to Bennington Pottery). C-CAN's "Open House" will be taking place right before, from 4 until 5:30. Feel free to stop in early to enjoy some snacks, check out our new space, and learn more about the programs we run.

Here are the ideas-- please let me know what you think the Action Committee's priorities should be (your top 5):

1. We need more Adopt-A-Block volunteers. We should find a way to reach out to more individuals and businesses. Prompt clean up is still the best way to keep tags from coming back, according to research that Cpl. Radford brought for us to see.
2. Graffiti vandals need to be held accountable. The laws could to be changed so that it is easier to prosecute graffiti vandals. The group discussed the creation of a Civil Ticket for Graffiti (Vandalism).
3. We need more communication between the people, organizations and City Departments that are working on this issue. It is important to document the graffiti and the efforts to combat it.
4. It is important to document the cost of graffiti to the City. We should put together facts and figures that show how much it costs to clean graffiti from different surfaces.
5. We could ask a college class to help us get specific stats on Burlington’s graffiti problem.
6. We need a way to transport our graffiti removal materials. A van for GRT would be a huge help. Acquiring a van seemed plausible. Finding sustaining funds for a van may present some challenges.
7. We could get an enclosed and locked trailer to transport a power washer in that could easily be hooked up to a city vehicle when needed, and that would be much less expensive than maintaining a van.
8. We should ask the local paint supply stores to document who buys spray paint and paint pens.
9. We need to find a way to reach out to graffiti vandals to help them understand the negative impacts of their behavior.
10. We need more connections in the schools—doing presentations about how graffiti hurts a community. We could ask school resource officers to help us identify kids who have a lot of tags drawn in their notebooks, since this seems to be an indication that they may be putting the same tag up elsewhere.
11. Graffiti vandals are motivated by public recognition. We should not bring them any increased attention through the media. Also, we should ask the media to avoid interviewing police officers in relation to our programs, but show community members as the driving force behind them instead.
12. We should use the media to reach out to new volunteers and to get the community more involved—i.e. use the media to emphasize positive things going on.
13. It is important to let graffiti vandals know that the community is watching for them. We need to send the message that we know who they are & their behavior is not ok.
14. What if a person who was convicted of graffiti (vandalism) received points on their driver’s license? Much like they did for underage smoking?
15. We need a city ordinance—not one that punishes businesses by forcing them to clean up their graffiti in 30 days, but one that targets the taggers.
16. We could have a special citywide “Graffiti Clean-Up Day” where everyone cleans whatever they see on their property. It could be in conjunction with Green-Up Day, but not just a part of it. We’d have a huge PR campaign leading up to it.
17. Utilizing neighborhood forums more could be helpful.
18. We need specific point people attending each NPA.
19. We need more positive outlets, like the “Community Art Space” on North Union and North Ave. where a fence was donated for youth to hang pre-approved art. We could have an exhibition at the Firehouse Gallery, even.
20. We could expand our compilation of tag photographs and put more emphasis on taking pictures when we see one.
21. We should write letters to the City Attorney once we have greater numbers to convince him to make the penalties for vandalism more than a slap on the wrist.

ALSO, we are definitely going to be partnering with Champlain Valley Crime Stoppers to reward witnesses! More to come on that. I'll probably also be looking for people in the future who wouldn't mind putting up posters to help us get the word out.

That's all for now, but I'll be posting more later,

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Graffiti vandals caught! And more news...

Hi everyone,
Just wanted to let you know that five graffiti vandals have been caught by the BPD just in the last 2 weeks! I'm glad to be passing on good news to end our busy cleaning season!
In other news from B. Police Department, Cpl. Thomas Radford, an officer with 11 years of experience, has joined our team and would like to offer his assistance in any way possible! Additionally, I have recently interviewed Lt. Scott Davidson and will be sending out a newsletter with many of our "frequently asked questions" about the enforcement aspect of graffiti here in Burlington. That should be reaching your mailboxes in the near future.
Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you enjoy the break from cleaning graffiti that the winter affords us! Thanks again for all the great work that you do to keep Burlington beautiful.

P.S.-- One Adopt-A-Block member is helping me to organize a Graffiti Removal Steering Committee that will probably start meeting in January to plan for spring. Members will be drawn from the BPD and Public Works as well as from the teen community, City Council, businesses, Adopt-A-Block and the greater community, hopefully. Our first big proposed project is to set up a reward pot for people who call police as they see vandalism occurring. If you're interested in being a member of this important, decision-making board, please let me know! I'll also send out more information soon.
P.P.S.-- In the winter I can't clean graffiti I organize "Operation Snow Shovel" instead. It's a program that matches elderly and disabled people in need of a cleared walkway with volunteers who'd like to shovel for them. Volunteers shovel only walkways, not driveways, each time it snows 3 inches or more. If you'd be interested in providing this much-needed service to someone in your neighborhood, please call me at 865-7548.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Cider and Cookies Social-- Let's Talk About the Future of the GRT!

Hello all,
This is Angie, the new coordinator of the Graffiti Removal Team. I'm not so computer-savvy myself, so I apologize for delays in updating the blog. :)

Looks like the season is winding down for removing graffiti, so I'd like to thank all of you who have put in hard work cleaning up Burlington! Additionally, I'd like to welcome new AAB volunteers Greg Eplerwood, Mary Belanger, Karen Newman and Ursula Jones. In order to thank and welcome, the Graffiti Removal Team will be hosting a Cider and Cookies Social TOMORROW (Friday, October 21st) from 5:30-6:30. (Did all of the AAB members get your invitations in the mail?) The hope was that it might be convenient to drop in on your way home from work. However, I've heard from some members that their Fridays are always booked up, so I apologize to those of you who can't make it at this time.

At the meeting, we'll be discussing the future of the program... and I need as much input as possible! From about November until the beginning of April, we can't clean, and though I work on some other projects during the winter, I'll be spending a good deal of time trying to implement changes and innovations relating to GRT. I need to hear from you to know what changes seem most important. If you can't make it, please e-mail me at or call at 865-7548 to let me know what you've been thinking!

In other news...volunteer crews on Saturday clean-ups have been making a lot of progress. Last Saturday, we "Elephant-Snotted" the back of the First Congregational Church on S. Winooski, and it's looking a lot better, though we're going to suggest that the church plant trees back there to keep the tagging at bay. This Tuesday and last, a fantastic group of kids from Mater Christi Catholic School gave the back of the church a second coat of "elephant snot" (the powerful cleaning goop that we like to use on brick) and also cleaned up a ton of tags on Buell and Orchard Terrace. Other prominent locations where graffiti has been cleaned include: the African Market on N. Winooski and North St. (painted), the Springflower Market on St. Paul St (painted), the Burlington Army and Navy, Brooks Pharmacy, and multiple other businesses. We've taken care of tags on several homes (including some with profanity) and mailboxes throughout the Old North End. This afternoon, an afterschool group at Wheeler will take to the streets around their school in search of signs and dumpsters with tags.

The last organized clean-up, leaving from C-CAN (82 S. Winooski Ave.), is this Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon! It's "turning tricks into treats" day. We'll clean and take pictures of tags we locate and get Halloween candy in return. Should be fun!

Sorry to have so many announcements at once! But I hope to see many of you soon. And happy cleaning for the last leg of the season!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Here are a few updates for the coming weeks. If you are interested in cleaning with me or if you have an area you feel needs some attention, let me know!

June 20th
  • I'm out with a crew from the Burlington Neighborhood Project cleaning up the Lakeside beach (it's off of the the bike path before you hit Oakledge)

  • I'll be out with a few Adopt-a-Blockers cleaning up graffiti on the Winooski Bridge--on the Burlington side of course.

July 13th

  • A group of kids from Colchester High School are making their way into Burlington to clean with GRT.

July 17th-20th

  • GRT will have a group of 20 high school age kids from UVM's Upward Bound program for the week. We should be able to get lots of graffiti cleaned this week!


Here's something a little interesting from Burlington City Arts:


Request for Proposal
Deadline for submissions: June 23, 2006, 5:00pm

Burlington City Arts is issuing a Request for Proposals from artists and craft persons for a public art project that will emphasize the balance between form and function by creating an artful bicycle parking rack. The proposed location for the artwork is within the right-of-way on the sidewalk in front of Radio Bean/Lovely Nails/The Other Place/Vermont Sandwich Co., at the corner of North Winooski Street and Pearl Street.

Project Website

For more information, contact Sara Katz at 802-865-5356 or


I have been out with numerous Adopt-a-Blockers cleaning up tougher areas that your kits probably can't control. If you have a troublesome spot that is on brick or cement or something you might need paint for, LET ME KNOW!! I'm always ready and willing to go out and clean.